Written by Cassandra Merkling (last updated February 3, 2022)
In order to keep your digital photos safe, you will need to keep their information fresh. Doing this with your digital photos is as simple as transferring them to a new device or medium before they corrupt. Be sure to do this every few years or so, so that you can keep your photos as perfect as the day you took them. Now that that reminder is done, I can move on to options for keeping your photos managed.
Definitely one thing you will want when you have your digital photos transferred to your computer is good management software. You can either purchase this or get it free off the internet. Whenever you decide to get something off the internet, keep your computer safe by only downloading software you know is from a trustworthy source.
Consider, also, what kind of software you need. Are you into really advanced technology and need something like Gimp (which is free) or Photoshop (which costs a lot of money)? Or do you need something made for a beginner, like the web-based (this means you do not have to download it to use it) Picnik.com? The software provides some good options in its free version (such as red-eye reduction and color alterations) that are easy to use with a very user-friendly interface, but you can do more intricate things with your pictures if you use a computer program that lets you control all the variables. If you want something in between, you can use something like the popular Photoshop Elements, which lets you have a lot of control, but not as much as the full version of Photoshop. Still, there are also other programs and websites out there that can work with your pictures; a lot of them are really good.
However, this is not the end of your photo management options. You can actually store your photos online. Depending on the website, you can either store your photos in full resolution (that means the highest quality they were taken in) or a more limited size. If you want a full-resolution storage program that keeps your photos online, you can use a photo-sharing site, like photobucket.com or flickr.com, both of which are free to use. Similar quality pictures can be shared on snapfish.com, although for a fee, you can get your photo quality preserved.
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One of the best free software packages for cataloguing and managing digital images I've come across is Picasa by Google. Its tag editor writes to the metadata so that once an item is tagged and saved, it stays with the file after you back it up. This feature works very nicely in Windows 7 (don't know about earlier versions)when doing a keyword or file search. Picasa also has loads of other features that the beginning user can become proficient in.